Male menopause? Joking? No, it is not.
Strictly speaking, it should be andropause, the male equivalent of menopause. Often referred as ‘mid-life crisis’.
It is claimed that andropause is hormone-related, just like female menopause. However, comparing with female menopause which is triggered by a dramatic fall in the levels of female hormones, male menopause witnesses the levels of the male hormone testosterone fall far more gradually over many years. Many 70-year-old men have similar testosterone levels to those of a 20-year-old.
Along with the decline of testosterone, men may see symptoms such as poor sex drive, tiredness, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, muscle and joint aches, forgetfulness, mood swings, irritability, depression, and listlessness, etc. Those may occur as early as 45 to 50.
Male menopause can occur naturally in some men, however, more often than not, it is triggered by diseases. Though claimed as hormone-related, some believe it has a psychological basis rather than a hormonal one.
Even if testosterone levels are low, there is still discuss about whether testosterone as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be offered, as it has some potential risks and side effects.
Male menopause & Chinese medicine
There is no such disease recorded in Chinese classics, but similar symptoms can be found in ‘yu zheng’, ‘zang zao‘, ‘yang wei’, ‘xu lao‘. From Chinese medicine’s perspective, its Ben lies in kidney (kidney deficiency), and Biao liver (liver qi stagnation). It also relates to heart and spleen.
In practice, we find three patterns are often seen.
Blood deficiency and qi stagnation
Therapeutic principle: nourishing blood and soothe liver
Herb prescription: Cai Zhi Su Gan San and Si Wu Tang modified
Acupuncture prescription: zu san li (ST36), san yin jiao (SP6), xing jian (LV2), nei guan (PC6), si shen cong (EX)
Kidney yin deficiency
Therapeutic principle: tonifying kidney yin
Herb prescription: Zuo Gui Wan and Er Zhi Wan modified
Acupuncture prescription: shen shu (BL23), tai xi (KD3), zhong ji (CV3/RN3), san yin jiao (SP6), shen men (HT7), si shen cong (EX)
Kidney yang deficiency
Therapeutic principle: tonifying kidney yang
Herb prescription: You Gui Wan and Er Xian Tang modified
Acupuncture prescription: shen shu (BL23), pi shu (BL20), ming men (DU4/GV4), guan yuan (CV4/RN4), san yin jiao (SP6)